HINDS COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) — Hinds County leaders say they don’t have the money to fix some crumbling bridges.
There are already several bridges closed, and officials say they are more to come.
“So we’re going to spend the money fixing vehicles or fixing roads, so I say fix the roads,” Darrel McQuirter, the board president said.
Hinds county continues to struggle with infrastructure issues.
“We can’t just sit here and wait and hope the state throws us some money or throws us a bone something has got to be figured out,” Public Works director, Charles Simms told board members.
State inspectors have already shut down seven bridges around the county, one of which is on Middle Road. Charles Simms says they were working to hire a contractor to rebuild that one when another bridge on the same road went under.
“A lot of these bridges are the early 60s and early 60s you’re talking 50-something-year-old bridges that have been sitting in water for all of those years, and they just they’re just dangling, so the bridges have to be closed because it’s a danger and a hazard to the public,” Simms said.
It doesn’t help that the past two springs have brought in heavy rain and flooding.
Simms says it costs between $200,000 and $400,000 to fix one bridge which is money the county and the state just don’t have.
“We’re already in a budget crisis right now you know we’re in a hiring freeze kind of sort of to speak right now too so it’s mainly money we want the bridges open if we had the money the board would approve it and spend it in a hot minute,” Simms said.
Simms says the state is supposed to maintain the funds to replace a bridge.
If the county can put up 20 percent for the repair, typically the state will put up the other 80, but Simms says neither the state or the county has the money.
“When you don’t have the funds you just cant up and do that bridges are expensive, so it’s just one of those things these bridges are just old and the structure holding them up are just no good,” he explained.
Simms and board members are asking the public to bear with them as they work to come up with a plan to fix these issues. Simms says they have been sending out bids to contractors for several of these bridges and are working to get them back up and running.
The following bridges are currently out: Morrison Road, Low Water Bridge, Rosemary Road, Middle Road, Clinton Tinnin Road, Mt. Moriah Road and Champion Hill Road.